Statoil has appointed Eldar Saetre as its new chief executive following the departure of Helge Lund to BG Group last year.
Mr Saetre has been acting as chief executive and president of the Norwegian company since last October.
Statoil said his annual fixed salary will be 7.7 million NOK and Mr Saetre will participate in Statoil’s programs for annual variable pay and long term incentives, as previously established for the chief executive position.
He will also keep his existing pension agreement, which entails a right to resign at 62.
Statoil’s Svein Rennemo, chair of the company’s board, said the industry veteran was the “first choice” to take on the role.
He said: “Eldar Sætre was our first choice. The industry and company are facing demanding challenges. Eldar stands out with his long experience and ability to create change. Those are qualities we need in times like these. I am extra pleased that we were able to recruit the next CEO from within Statoil.”
Mr Saetre has 35 years’ experience within the oil and gas industry as well as extensive operational and financial experience with Statoil.
He started with the company as chief financial officer before becoming executive vice president for Marketing, processing and renewable energy.
Mr Saetre played a key role during Statoil’s IPO and the merger with Norsk Hydro’s oil and gas division.
He was responsible for the updated strategy for marketing of natural gas to the European market and also led the improvement work at Statoil’s onshore facilities.
He said: “Statoil is well positioned for the future. We have a solid financial platform, and a highly competent organisation. Our industry is currently experiencing large uncertainty. Statoil started the work to improve our competitiveness early. We have our work cut out for us, but we are well prepared to tackle these challenging times.
“Statoil is changing, but one thing remains firm: My first and foremost responsibility is for safe and secure operations.
“Going forward we will bring with us the best of what Statoil represents. Our key focus will be on the Norwegian continental shelf, where we will look to deepen and extend our position.
“At the same time we will continue to pursue international opportunities, where we have competitive advantages.
“Statoil´s strategy is future oriented and well anchored. Three areas stand out to me as of particular importance: On the Norwegian continental shelf we will strengthen and extend our position. Internationally we will invest where we can create material and profitable positions.
“We will also strengthen our efforts in the transition to a low carbon society. Competitiveness and sustainability is of critical importance, either in oil and gas production or future projects in renewable energy.”
Chair of the Board Svein Rennemo headed a subcommittee of the board that, following the resignation of Helge Lund in October of last year, has been responsible for the search for Statoil’s next chief executive.
Mr Rennemo said the three main challenges facing the new chief executive are improving Statoil’s competiveness, navigating a macroeconomic situation with more “uncertainty and stronger pressure” and increasing the speed of the company’s transitions towards low carbon society.
He added that when Mr Saetre had been appointed as acting chief executive he had expressed to the board that he would not be a candidate for the job on a permanent basis.
Mr Rennemo said: “We are glad he changed his mind. At the same time, we wanted the benefit of carrying out a broad search. Statoil needs the best candidate.”
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